Former Chichester Festival Youth Theatre member Ami Stidolph is back in West Sussex as associate producer on Not Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which plays Shoreham’s Ropetackle on Friday, June 9, at 8pm.
The show, playing Sussex prior to Edinburgh, promises a darkly-funny, Mel Brooks-style parody of the D H Lawrence novel.
“Following the storyline of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but with some twists along the way, there will be long contemplative looks into the middle distance, moments of touching drama, plenty of farce and a gentle stroke of innuendo,” Ami says.
“Expect high drama, high comedy and highly-raised eyebrows.”
Company director Lawrence, show director Ben and Ami were all at Chichester College – not that they knew the coincidence until a chance conversation the other day.
“Lawrence is the writer and is also in the show, and the company, Happy Idiot, wanted to bring in a second producer. I have known Lawrence for several years. We have got a wonderful company of four actors that have been working away devising the show alongside Lawrence’s script. The company specialises in retelling classics. It follows the basic storyline but is a bit more aware of itself. There is a bit more innuendo. You don’t see any of the graphic stuff on stage. It is a lot more about the word play.
“It has come together very well. We are doing a small rural tour including the Ropetackle, and then we are going off to Edinburgh for the full run. Edinburgh is an amazing platform for getting something up and running, and then the aim will be to take it to bigger venues later.
“It is a work-in-progress at the moment. We were very lucky to get Arts Council funding to start with, and so there has been a longer period of rehearsal and development. I watched a rehearsal the other day, and they are really, really working together very well, part of the benefit of that longer run-up period.”
Ami lives in London now where she runs The Vaults, the underground theatre beneath Waterloo station.
But she is convinced none of it would have happened without her happy Chichester Festival Youth Theatre experience. She was with the company from the age of seven to 18 until she went off to drama school.
“The youth theatre is the reason I love the theatre. When I come down from London to Chichester and I see Chichester Festival Theatre on the horizon, I still feel so excited about that space. The youth theatre at Chichester is very, very professional. It is not just running around. It is all professional people from the theatre, and you are working professionally. Whenever I am at a tech rehearsal and some people are talking, I still want to go ‘Shhh!’ like they taught us at Chichester Festival Youth Theatre!
“I particularly enjoyed the productions that we did off-site like Arabian Nights in the grounds of Goodwood, and I remember doing The Hobbit in the grounds of St Cuthman’s. I have ended up working in immersive theatre, and I am sure I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t had the chance to work with the youth theatre. It was great.”
Not Lady Chatterley’s Lover contains nudity, scenes of a sexual nature and strong language. Age guidance 16-plus.
Tickets on ropetacklecentre.co.uk.
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